Friday, December 31, 2010

Bowling out the Old Year

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We took the boys bowling for the first time today. What a great way to end 2010. For some reason I feel sad about it, but 2011 holds Hope.

1. Chris was thrilled to go and couldn't wait to test out his "new shoes".



2. Grandma helped him bowl for the first time.



3. He would roll it very slowly, but it rolled.



4. Grandpa showed Sam what it was all about.



5. Then Mommy helped Sam take his turn. That ball took 10 minutes to reach the end of the lane.



6. Chris couldn't wait to take his turns. I think he got bored while the rest of us took ours.



7. Daddy helps Sam bowl a bit too, and Sam loves it.



8. They have Great form!



9. Grandma helps Chris bowl his last frame.



10. And We were Done, especially sleep deprived boys.



Happy End of 2010.

Losing, and Finding my Mind

I debated writing about this. But I had a Bad Week, a few weeks ago. I hope that I hit my low, because I really don't want to imagine having it get worse. And I wasn't going to write about it, but now I really feel compelled to do so. Perhaps my story can help somebody else. And in order to understand my New Year's Resolutions, you have to know where I'm coming from. So if you want to read about me losing my mind, grab a beverage and have a seat, because this one's going to take a while.

Chris and I have been fighting a lot lately. It's not entirely him though. There's a lot of stuff going on that makes me mad. Stuff I can't control, stuff I can't do much about. But there's some stuff I can do things about. On this particular Tuesday, here's what happened to set me off - Chris and I were fighting, arguing all day. Nothing particularly unusual about that. I wasn't feeling well, having caught Sam's cold, and Chris didn't want to let me take a nap. He played all the way through naptime, but being so noisy I couldn't sleep. He even woke up Sam at one point. Sam was lucky enough to go back to sleep, I didn't. Eric came home ever so briefly for dinner and was gone again, so there really wasn't much of a respite. I let Chris watch some cartoons before bed, and when I told him to get ready for bed, he wouldn't. He got a time out for not getting up to go to bed. When I went to retrieve him, I couldn't walk into his room without tripping on toys there were so many on the floor. He had entirely upended his bins and the mess was amazing. So I told him to clean it up. He didn't move. Time out again. Big Tantrum, followed by much screaming, he screamed through the whole time out. When he got out, I told him again to clean his room, when he didn't, he got a spanking too.
That's our normal process, time out and if that doesn't work, we proceed to spanking. That is usually enough to work. It didn't this time. I've never had to spank him more than once. But this night the punishments kept coming back to back, no rest. And the spanking had no effect. He just cried and kept crying. I couldn't send him to bed without a path from the door to the bed, so we had to commence cleaning. OK, I commenced cleaning. He just stood there, looking like he didn't know how to clean his room. Well, he KNOWS how to pick up, and he KNOWS how to put his little toys in the bins. And that made me madder, I was Not going to clean this mess, his giant mess, up. Because he KNOWS better and he's just being Obstinant.
My Mom used have this big thing about "Willfull Disobedience" - if you knew better, and you knew she'd say no, or had said No, and you did it anyway, the punishment was going to be bigger than an accidental mistake.
So I was Fuming. So I turned him around, putting his back to my belly, and bent him over and with my hands over his hands, I used his hand to pick up a toy, and put it in the bin. One toy away. Another toy away. Then he laughed.
Oh, you laugh?! He thought it was a game or something I guess, but I flipped out. This is So Not Funny. I'm still fuming, so I swing him around and toss him up on his bed, yell Time Out! And storm out of the room. I sit down for a second, my heart his pounding, I'm panting. His cry is a little different, but I don't care, maybe he's finally getting it?
When I go in, he's sitting there, cradling his arm, and he's got a scratch on his head. What? What in the world? I ask what happened, he says I hurt him. Oh God.
Upon investigation, I realized I scratched his head, and he hit the bed funny when he hit and got his funny bone. So that pain dissipated, as we are talking actually. But the scratch on his head? I have no idea how I did it. And it scares me. We talk. I apologize for hurting him. But it wasn't funny, he needs to know that when I'm angry and he's not obeying, it's Not Funny.
Am I justifying hurting him? Maybe. But I shouldn't leave a mark. I should never hit him so hard that I leave a mark. It happened once before, and accident where he moved when I flicked him, and I got him with my nails, which were too long at the time. But that was totally accidental.

What scared me the most this time, was that I had no idea I'd hurt him. I'd gotten so mad. I'd almost gone wild on him, and that scared me.

Eric comes home while Chris and I are talking it out. I tell him what happened, and we put Chris to bed. No story. Just calmly talk it out. I grab a trashbag and put all the toys in it. I'm still angry, but I still need the floor clear. My theory is that he has too many toys if he can't clean them up. They are still in a trashbag in our room. With his new influx of toys, I can probably just box these up, and go through it, but I've postponed the dirty work to get to the Cause.

And the Cause is what scared me.

I got so angry that I didn't realize I'd hurt my child. Eric and I talked about it, but he said it sounded accidental, and was fully supportive of me. But, I had trouble going to sleep, and sleeping that night. By 4 a.m. I was on the internet surfing Child Abuse. But you know what? If you suspect you could be a Child Abuser, there isn't a lot for you. There's a lot of places to run to, like Sheltering Wings in Hendricks County, and there's a few hotlines to call. And that's really wonderful, if I wanted to wake the kids and go in the middle of the night. But I didn't. Once I calmed down, we were ok, and once Eric got home, it had all gotten a lot better. But if you're scared because you hurt your child, and are worried you might be headed down the path towards abuse, there isn't much help online. Of the couple surveys that I took, we didn't qualify as living with an abuser. So that didn't really seem to be it. I was looking for Anger Management too, since losing my temper seemed to be more the root of the problem, not abuse. I confessed my fears to Eric in the morning, at a more reasonable hour, and though he thought I might be catastrophizing a bit, he recalled having a mental health hotline was part of our insurance.

I'm actually thankful for Computer Programmers that have postal before me, because this hotline has become a lifesaver.

So I waited until naptime so I could be on the phone a while. They ask the standard questions, "Are you afraid you're going to harm yourself or someone else right now?" Well, yes, I kind of was. Once I explained, they said I didn't sound homicidal, but they wanted to know if I wanted Help. Yes. So they told me they have counselors on call 24/7, but gave me a few names of people that could be able to help me, Providers, they said...yeah, Therapists. Oh I get it. I don't know why it surprised me, when I realized after hitting the first answering machine, that they were Therapists. But it did. Not that I'm ashamed of needing therapy. I guess it was just a surprise. I wanted Help. I guess this is the form it takes. I'm glad. Obviously, something is going on, I need something, some kind of help, perhaps a therapist is exactly what I would need to figure it out. They gave me a few names, but they didn't mesh for a few reasons, insurance not being taken etc. After a couple days of hunting, I finally got a good match. And went in on the following Monday afternoon.
In the mean time, I was still stressing out, so when I called back for more names and numbers to call, they asked if I wanted to talk to one of their on-call people, and I said Yes.
She started off by telling me, she's not a Therapist, asked the standard homocidal/suicidal questions and when it was established that I wasn't in any danger to myself or anyone else, then she explained she's a Coach. She Coaches me to make a Plan, and to jot down ideas, goals, and we discuss problem target areas. She and I talked about what happened, and she asked about Chris. And when I explained a little bit about what's been going on with him, his health, mine, the new house. She said I didn't sound depressed but Stressed. I was like, duh, yeah. But seriously, DUH! Or course, I'm stressed. The Holidays, plus Chris, plus the house, my Mom, and being sick on top of it, of course I couldn't handle it. Really it was like a light bulb went off!
And I felt a bit better. Strange really, just having an idea where the unknown problems lie made me feel better. Almost instantly, I realized I'm stressing out that's why I wasn't prepared for multiple back to back meltdowns. And the Stress probably led to getting that stupid cold. When you get stressed, the immune system is less effective too. And Chris. He probably had no idea where to begin cleaning that monster mess. He needed my guidance, not my orders. I needed to start small and say something like, Pick up all the cars and put them in the car bin.
Then she asked about what I do for fun. Ha. I sew, sometimes, but that's been hard, the baby girl's blanket I'm working on is now 4 months old, because Sam likes yarn, and Chris likes my hooks. I blog, and take pictures, but even that has become so much like Homework it's not even fun anymore. I said, I wanted to learn about photography, and take an online class, but who knows when. She actually thought that was a great idea. She said my mind wasn't getting any stimulation. Sure the internet is a nice escape, she said, but it doesn't work your mind, I can't rely on it fully. And you know what? I had been. I facebook, I blog, and that's about it.
She said I needed to do something to expand my mind, better myself. And in bettering myself I'd be better prepared to care for others. (i.e. Young Minds) There it was Again, another light bulb. Of course, I have followed my Mom's theory for a long time, you can't keep doling out spiritual help and guidance without being spiritually full yourself. The cup has to be full in order to share. Though I haven't been spending as much time with the Lord since I had kids either. Funny, another friend of mine was just writing about that, how she didn't feel as close to God once her prayers for a child were answered. It's kind of True. The most closeness I get to Him lately, it to apologize for my actions and to Thank Him. At least he knows I'm still here, but how lovely it would be to get Closer, to get Deeper into the Word. Discern his will for me. I know His Will is for me to be the boy's Mom, He's made that perfectly clear. But what else?
Anyway, why didn't I understand that beside being Spiritually Full, I needed to be Mentally Ful-Filled. I need mental stimulation to fill my cup to foster cup filling in the boys! This coach told me to make a list, my homework if you will, of things that I want to do to step away, develop my mind. She also told me to take Time for ME. Ideally, I should get away 5 minutes a day, One evening a week, and One Day a Month. I laugh. And even though that would be really hard. Getting away once a week (either day or weekend) that should be do-able. Not doctor visits, going to the chiropractor didn't count. And waiting to write until after the kids are down for bed doesn't count. She said, I should step outside for just 5 minutes a day. Step away. Hm....
I started walking to the mailbox to put the Christmas cards inside, just a couple at a time. The cold fresh silent air was good. I went to my first therapy session. We spent the whole time talking about Chris and his health history, and how November was Bad, which led to that Bad Day the week before. She didn't think I was Crazy...just Stressed. But I was OK with going back to discuss other factors, and maybe gain some more Coping Skills to deal with the stress. Coping Skills was Coach's catch phrase. I think in all the day to day, keep the children living, that I've been doing, I've lost my coping skills...or buried them. The Coach also said Eric and I need some Us time. Ha. But went Christmas shopping that very night, I called Mom and she watched the boys. Just last night they both spent the night at their house, so Eric and I could go see Wicked together, have a Real Date, and we even had the morning to chill. That's really great for my mental health. It was really good that all this happened over Christmas break so I could have my MIL help out and watch the kids so I could go to Therapy and a Date. God Bless Her. But I can't rely on her forever, and Eric's got too much on his plate right now. They said that if Eric and I could survive the building of this house, we could survive anything. Well, we're in the thick of it. And it's Hard. I can start relying on him heavier once the house is finished, heck, it'll Be tons easier once the house is done, I hope. In the mean time, it's hard to schedule time away from home, and from the kids. I'm blessed that when I find myself with a bit of Time, I can call Mom W. and ask and she loves to take the boys. But we need to get more of a mental health developing routine. I made a small list, and it's going to be my New Year's resolutions.

1. Activate my Mind with a current interest. Like I said, I want to take a Photography Class. Well, I posted on FB, and my Dad said he'd be interested in Teaching me. Oh yeah, Daddy used to be a photographer, he was a journalism major, and that was his job in school, and how he met my Mom. In case you ever wonder where I get it, it's from him. Well, he volunteered to be my Teacher! AND he got me a book for Christmas. So we're going to get started...provided I can stay awake long enough to read it.

2. Get in the Word - Obviously I can't function without God. And I've been straying from his word. A friend is starting a Bible study on the Message in the New Year. I'm hopping on that Bandwagon!

3. Along those same lines, I want to do something for me, AND something for God. And have been missing being in choir. Christmas Eve service was really hard not being up there singing along. The thing that took me out, was I just would let Chris run around with the choir after we pulled him out of the nursery for communion, he'd just stay with us the rest of the service. Well, he got older. And we had Sam. I just couldn't maneuver both of them, the books and myself. Nope. But then Eric was thinking, that we could just sit in the congregation, and head up to sing, and go back to sit. I could do that. Then I could have the Joy (?) of sitting with Chris in the congregation through the service AND sing with the choir. Could I possibly Have both? Sure. Why not? Until the house is done, I'm not going to demand to go to Wednesday night rehearsals, but I can do Sunday morning, while Chris is in Sunday School. I asked Audrey,

4. I'm Fat. I want to get thinner. Healthier. My chiropractor has been on me to exercise. I should. I need to stop eating like I'm still pregnant or nursing. I'm not anymore. And now I'm on the verge of outgrowing my fat clothes. Time to get Serious. Time to do something about it. So I'm going to join a gym. One with Child Care, so I can take the kids with me, and not have to listen to anyone gripe about having to watch them while I go to do something. Perhaps Eric can join me too...once the house is done. The church where my Mom2Mom group meets, Connection Pointe, has a Family Gym membership for $85 a year, they even have yoga classes, which sounds right up my alley. And Child care is $2 a child for however long we're there. Deal.

5. Fix the Baby (babies). Chris is getting help this year. By Gum. Boy Howdy. We'll probably have surgery for his MACE in June. And that'll take the summer to get the kinks worked out, and that's one thing. Sam needs help since he flunked his Swallow study in November. We'll be following up with that. I'd like to see some improvement there too. While I was telling what happened with Chris and I to a friend of mine, a social worker in Domestic Violence, she said not surprising that he's having some emotional delay and that's frustrating him. Huh, of all the delays Chris may have, I never gave any considered Emotional Delay. But when discussing his medical history with my therapist, I mentioned it, and she suggested some Emotional Play with a Child Therapist. Now I don't necessarily think we need to go that far. But I did call Developmental Pediatrics at Riley to see if we can assess Chris to see if he is suffering from emotional delays, maybe that's why he gets so frustrated so easily. And I get frustrated at his frustrations, and we just Snowball. So perhaps we can both get some help this way...provided Riley can get us in. We spent this week playing phone tag, and they aren't seeing people until March. Ugh. Not happy about this, but that's why it's a New Year's Resolution, I'm going to keep at them, and keep on them until they all help me fix my babies. Chris enters Kindergarten this next fall, and I want him to be ready. And I want to be ready too.

Anyway, that's enough on all that for now I think.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Still Friends a decade later

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What a neat opportunity for me today. I got to have lunch at Bazbeaux's with 2 of my college friends, we graduated BU together, though goodness knows where my pics from that day are... I just wish the boys would've cooperated more, they were in Snippy Moods. But even with screaming and the occasional timeout, we were able to do some Catching up. It's funny, how even though things have changed, it's been nearly a decade since I've seen Steph and Jen, it's like old times. And catching up in person is So much better than Facebook!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bouncing

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It's a happy day when the boys are happy. But they have literally been bouncing off the walls. They had a great time playing with Oma and Opa today, but they have so much energy, it exhausts me.



Good thing they love this trampoline that Santa brought them!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Teensy Pieces

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Chris got a crazy amount of toys this year for Christmas. On one hand, I love that my boys are so loved that their family gave them so much. We are guilty too, of course, But a lot of them came with teensy tiny pieces. Pieces that MOMMY wasn't ready prepared to be stepping on and losing. Legos and little policemen with little bitzie guns and hats. Argh.

Toys for kids don't get bigger and better as they get older, they get tinier and come with more pieces.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mystery Bird

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Found this little fella out back in the willow today, with a few hundred of his friends. Most intrigued by his slightly green spots. Anybody got any ideas?

Boxing in

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It's the sort of day when we should just have stayed in bed all day. Or maybe gone back to it. The boys had the right idea.



Eric went to work at the house, and found 2 inches of water in the basement. It took him all day to get the sump pump working. He was discouraged. I joked earlier that I know why they call it Boxing Day, the 26th of December. Because the boys are Boxing each other so much, we're going to clobber them all. And here the boys were literally jumping off the walls.



They weren't doing a very good job at sharing their toys, with eachother, or playing nicely with their own. There was a lot of wailing and nashing of teeth. So when friends of ours had the idea of coming over and playing, we jumped at the chance. We found comfort in water gushing out a secondary sump pump, and my hot cocoa maker, and joined with laughter with friends over a nice Noodley dinner and watching Toy Story 2 with all the kids. And that redeemed the day.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Dinner at Opa and Oma's

Chris couldn't believe he still had More Christmas after naptime. He kept asking if it was Still Christmas? It was. After naps we went down to my Dad's for a scrumptious Christmas turkey dinner with all the homemade fixings by my stepmom who is an amazing chef. Even her leftovers will make you cry they are so good. We got Stuffed.



After supper the boys wanted to immediately play with toys. Oma (my stepmom) has a Rudolph set, with all the characters, even Bumbles. Awesome. The boys thought so too.



Got to have some Quality Time with the nieces too. Charlie is 7 months old, and is standing..almost all on her own. Her Daddy must stay close, but he can do the Look Ma No Hands!



It was a good year for homemade presents. Aunt Lisa made Chris a Batman cape. He put that bad boy on, and TOOK OFF down the hall, streaming nothing but black cape behind. And wore it all evening. He had the mother of all meltdowns when I took it off him.



Annie models the hat and cape that I made her too.



And my Dad. He's sporting a Colts Snuggie from Lisa and stylish hat that we got him. The height of Fashion...for a maniacal Colts Fan. It felt good to laugh this hard. A good end to a stressful few weeks.

On Christmas Day in the Morning

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The boys were very kind to sleep until 7:30 for us. Chris wanted to do presents, while Sam was a bit more mellow this year, wanting to play with toys. Actually he didn't want to open things, he just wanted to eat chocolate and play with toys, so we obliged.

Top Ten Pictures of our Christmas morning at home.

1. Chris made a mad dash for the train. We explained very thoroughly the night before how Santa brings a new car for his train (and for Sam's) each year. This year he got an M&M train. And he couldn't WAIT to run the train. The presents could wait...at least for a bit.



2. Test Jumping. Chris tests out the 'new' trampoline.



3. Sam gives the trampoline a test jump too. But his jump is more like a little bob. He'll need a bit more practice.



4. OK, we caved. Chris got a Pillow Pet. A bumblebee. That's manly, right? Well, doesn't really matter, as long as he loves it, which he does.



5. Chocolate. The boys scan stockings for any and all signs of chocolate. Luckily Santa provided.



6. The Diego Watch. Chris has been asking anyone who would listen for a Diego watch. Santa was happy to provide, but it puzzles us all how a watch that doesn't tell time or do anything could make a boy so happy.



7. Rock on Sam. Sam loves his guitar that big brother picked for him so much, he doesn't even want to wait for it to get out of the box.



8. Eric opens up the present I made for him. Mighty Cuddly.



9. The boys want to play Night Night on the living room floor.



10. My favorite. All three of my boys cuddled up in the blankets I made for them.




Warms my heart to see them all warm and cozy too.

Christmas Eve

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Oh how the insanity of the holidays has overwhelmed me, but in a good way. We've been passing time with family and having such a lovely time, I just didn't have time to Blog.

We started our Celebrations on Christmas Eve by going to see Eric's family. The girls came back from Spain and we had seen them last weekend, but it had been three whole days, and we missed them. We still haven't seen enough of them to get tired of them yet, but we're trying.



Christopher recieved a knight's costume, and had to put it all on immediately, even wearing the shield on his back 'for protection'. The boys were so precious watching the skating penguin. Alexis used to watch this for hours when she was Sam's age.



Sam really didn't care about opening presents, so Chris "helped" him open, and Sam played with them. It was a pretty good system. (But now Chris thinks he has a share in all of them, because they are fighting over toys all the time.)



It was a very Toy Story Christmas for Chris, but also for all things heroes. He got a couple books to read, and he had to immediately start reading. It was so sweet.



We played with the Fam all afternoon, even Amy and I were able to run away for a quick beverage. :) And I got to try to teach Lexi how to crochet.



The high point of the day was going as a Family to church. Eric had to be there early to direct the bell choir, who did a Great job. Chris was a good boy, so he got to hold a candle during the singing of Silent Night! He did a wonderful job...though he got a little rickety at the end.
And when we got home, the boys put on their Santa Jammies and read The Polar Express by the Christmas tree and our train, a lovely note to end on.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas at the Zoo

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For the last couple weeks I've been hearing about the Christmas at the Zoo. And I've wanted to go. I know, It's Cold, It's Crowded...blah blah blah. Eric has been saying it all, but I stopped listening. So I took the boys last night.

Merry Christmas at the Zoo from the boys and I.



We needed cocoa. And I had no qualms about sharing with the boys. Even Sam. Who was totally stoked about being allowed to have Hot Cocoa. He was on Extra Adorable duty...for Cocoa. This one was for Nereus, the young walrus who passed away this fall. One of my favorites, he used to always say hello to us at the walrus window.






We went into Santa's Village, but it was disgustingly hot with tons of people. waited in the line to see Santa for 5 minutes, and it became clear Sam was not going to wait. Chris discovered we could write a letter to him instead.




The letter templates had Dear Santa and a bunch of blank lines, and Your Friend for him to fill in. Chris copied all the letters of the word. I suggested he then write "Watch" because he has asked for a Diego Watch. Sam of course had to get in on the action too. They were pretty cute.



We took the train ride around the zoo, and it was Beautiful. Cold. But Beautiful.



We even took a break to sing carols around a fire!



And the path was lit so lovely. That's Chris's head.



All we got to see of the White River Gardens exhibit were trees outside because it was closing by the time we got back up there. Chris had a monster tantrum because he wanted to see the reindeer. Yeah, it was Bedtime. But the trees were pretty.



After it took us a half an hour to leave the zoo parking lot, I decided I wanted to end the night on a less frustrating note, so we drove around the Circle to see the Tree. Chris hadn't been in his rememberance, and he was surprised.



It was Gorgeous! And Chris took one look at it, and said Look it's a Transformer on Top!" I laughed and started to explain the Soldiers and Sailors monument, summarizing that it was kind of like an Angel that looked out for soldiers and sailors. And he pipes up, "Well yeah, but it has Stormtroopers Inside!"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Cowboys and Indians Museum

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I did a Crazy thing yestday. I took the boys to see the Jingle Rails exhibit at the Eiteljorg Museum. The Eiteljorg is an American Indian and Western Art Museum. And Jingle Rails is a Train exhibit built entirely from natural materials, like lichen and tree bark. Amazing. I can honestly say that I'm honored to say I know someone that worked on it. I was floored.



Unfortunately, my camera died 2 minutes into our trip. :(
I did have my video camera though!

video



However, the boys really enjoyed it. And I'm glad because before I was even in the door I bought a membership to the museum with the gift card we got from Eric's work. It was $50 and got us in, AND Free Parking underneath...that right there is Priceless! THEN we went in to enjoy the museum. They had an entire area downstairs for the kids with a Stagecoach to climb on, an adobe house to play in, build their own totem poles, and ride in a saddle. Chris's favorite part was playing Dress Up. They had some old, out west clothing, leather gloves, a vest, even some sparkly old chinese shirts. (Obviously he wasn't putting on the prairie skirts) and they were doing an exhibit on Mexican Cowboys with dressup clothes...I can't wait to take Some girls, they'll love getting all dolled up in sparkly swirly dresses! But Chris had a wonderful time sporting a black jacket that clinked with Bling. I got an awesome video of his "Mexican Dance".



video

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Exactly 5 years ago

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It's Never Good when you're in Labor and your water breaks and the nurse asks, "What is This?" while she's examining you. No, it wasn't good, but when it turned out That was a spine, so I had to have a c-section, within 10 minutes I had the most beautiful baby.

Christopher Matthew

And exactly 5 years before this picture was taken, my little Miracle was born.



And I have witnessed so many God-given Miracles since, I can't even describe them all. But I am Blessed, very Blessed.

Happy Birthday Chris!